The piles of opened books around Dr. Kevin Pinney’s office speak to the chemistry professor’s enthusiastic devotion to academics. A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan, he holds BAs in chemistry and chemical engineering, as well as a PhD in chemistry from the University of Illinois.
Pinney specializes in organic chemistry and is currently involved in projects on molecular recognition and vascular targeting as it applies to cancer research. He is involved in the High School Summer Science Program, in which high school students come to Baylor for six weeks during the summer and research with professors and graduate students. Pinney finds these young scientists enthusiastic, and explains that many of the students enroll at Baylor after graduation.
In addition to teaching classes during the school year, Pinney works with many undergraduate students on their theses and with students in his research group. The research group is comprised of 20-25 graduate and undergraduate students. The group operates as a family, at times working on projects together, and at times exploring individual endeavors.
In the research group, teaching and research are coextensive. Pinney believes that “research is the purest form of teaching.” The research group is structured to nourish the development of research skills by promoting collaboration in the search for new knowledge. It allows students and teachers alike to partake in in-depth laboratory experimentation on cutting-edge scientific topics, such as Pinney’s recent cancer developments. Pinney enjoys having undergraduate students in his group because they have “lots of enthusiasm and interesting ideas.”
Dr. Kevin Pinney has found a way to combine his own passion for organic chemistry with his desire to encourage others on their paths to careers in science. He explains that “you can’t forget the component of fun” in any endeavor, and he encourages all students to “find what you are passionate about” and pursue it with all of your heart.
Dr. Pinney has a deep devotion to academic excellence and a love for the young minds he shapes. He makes students excited about the future—not only their own, but also that of their discipline.